Jan Svankmajer’s influence on the Brother’s Quay

The Quay Brothers and Jan Svankmajer engage in fabrication, the creation of a meta-reality of inanimate objects. Because of this their work falls into a surreal aesthetic where the objects are given a life beyond their normal use and yet, a life that is nothing really beyond the materiality of the object is comprised of.

In Wikipedia, the Quay Brothers apparently claim that they discovered Jan Svankmajer’s work after they had started working with inanimate, objects, puppets, dolls, and various parts. Strangely, both, seem to be fascinated by the dingy underbelly of the discarded by-products of materialisation, and spaces that are forgotten, and overlooked. The However, The Cabinet of Jan Svankmejer, is clearly nodding to the Czeck animator.

Jan Svankmejer is known for using fabrication, sped up stop motion, and in the afterlife of objects. The Jabberwocky deals with a child’s playroom and the imagined life of the objects a child would give them. The Cabinet of Jan Svankmejer contains childhood references, such as games and experiments on bugs (~9:23-~10:29). Earlier on in the animation at ~3:49 sped up stop motion brings us closer to the scene where the book-head creature and the child meet. The child, a doll, lays down its head to have its stuffing taken out and top of its head taken off, much like a child would do to a doll, which is one of Jan’s themes (3:52). At 4:04 other toy objects come out of the child’s head and are animated, which is a fabrication very much like Jan Svankmejer.

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